Posted by: Norman Brook | December 8, 2012

Building a Better Coaching Environment

Norman Brook recently facilitated a participatory workshop for athletics coaches from the Western Province in South Africa.  Western Province Athletics is seeking to build a better coaching environment for the development of both athletes and coaches and was keen to involve local coaches in action research that would inform the assoications’ future strategy.

The workshop divided into groups and asked what they would like to see in terms of an athlete development system in the Western Province.

The workshop divided into groups and asked what they would like to see in terms of an athlete development system in the Western Province.

This workshop was structured around  Participatory Action Research involving athletics coaches from the Western Province in actively examining together current athlete and coach development systems in order to change and improve them.

The coaches formed a Community of Practice, a group of active coaching practioners coming to share ideas and best practice, ask questions of their colleagues, and provide support for each other.

Coaches are at the heart of sport of athletics, be it participation or performance athletics, improving people’s health and well-being, developing talent, or supporting medal success.  Coaches are often the under acknowledged driving force motivating people of all ages to be active and achieve success.

Coaches identify what is good and bad with the current coaching environment.

Coaches identify what is good and bad with the current coaching environment.

This workshop allowed coaches to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the current system of athlete and coach development and to make recommendations on the design of future systems.  They looked specifically at athlete and coach development taking into consideration recent national developments and existing local conditions.  National developments included the “South Africa Sport for Life Model for Long-Term Participation and Development”, the “South African Coaching Framework” and the decision to adopt the IAAF coach education curriculum in South Africa.

Norman Brook pictured with coaches attending the workshop.

Norman Brook pictured with coaches attending the workshop.

As part of the workshop coaches made pledges of what they would do personally to contribute to the development of athletes and coaches in the province in the future.  This fits well with this recent quote from President of the European Association of Athletics Coaches, Dr. Frank Dick, OBE, who expressed the view that “Coaches must be more willing to get involved in the collective purpose of shaping their future.”

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